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Slow processing makes elevations and sections almost impossible

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I want to tranfer this discussion from the "Tech How To" board to get some attention to what has become a real difficulty for me. I find that it has become very inefficient to translate a 3D model into 2D objects once a certain level of complexity has been reached. My model is of a large single-family residence, with windows, doors and a very moderate level of trim detail.

VW 10.1.2


P4 2.2 G


Every time I take a 3D section and render it as lines (to get interior elevations), I am required to quit out of VectorWorks and restart. Otherwise, the program slows to a crawl. In fact, it usually refuses to quit in any reasonable (minutes) period of time, and I have to end the program using task manager. Any process of selection or de-selection can take seconds, escalating to minutes, after making the 2D rendering.

I see two problems here. One must be a bug - the program shouldn't behave abnormally after doing some processing. Others have complained about slow operation, and this bug may be related.

The other has to do with the way 3D sections are taken. There must be a better way than converting everything to a million 3D polygons.

Also of note: I'm still getting multiple overlapping lines when generating a hidden line rendering from a 3D section.

Is NNA aware of these problems? Is there a chance of getting fixes on a high-priority basis?

I would suggest that solving the structural problem with 3D sections may start with a command to convert layer links to an actual copy of the objects from the linked layers. This may or may not be useful to many people in and of itself, but from there it might be possible to sort those objects into those to be thrown out, those in the background, and those actually being cut and which will require some kind of trimming.

Even better: when using the 3D section tool, we are often not actually after a cut up part of the model - we are after a view or representation that we can't get any other way. If we could get that without actually copying and manipulating 3D entities, things might be done much more efficiently. For example, how about creating a plane that the rendering engines interpret as boundary between completely transparent stuff and visible stuff? If that view could be then converted to 2D lines with the hidden line rendering tool, bingo!

[ 07-21-2003, 02:45 PM: Message edited by: P Retondo ]

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i use the cut section tool alot for the very same purpose- to create elevations or sections. what i do, though, is 'convert copy to lines', not 'polygons', and simply trace over the image on the correct layer. its just as quick as using the polys, but not as messy. its probably is a dumb way in the cad world, but it works really good. i have never experienced the type of slow down or crashing that you seem to be experiencing, though. sorry i can't help you there. the only time we hit a slow down snag is with our printing scripts, but thats another issue...

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I hate to say it but Archicad has a very good tool for this. On the plan, on defines with a marquee, the extent of the section to be cut or in this case, rendered, unlike Vectorworks which wants to show everything beyond the cut plane. This helps, say when trying to show a window or cabinet in elevation beyond the cut plane. The point about using computers is to make this process more efficent. In sum, this function clearly needs to be upgraded and I offer the Archicad example only to illustrate that it can be done effectively.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey fellas,

Let's all go to the Wish List and get it on the list! then solict more votes from the other users of Vectorworks.

I know the marquee in Archicad. IN fact I tried to do a 3D CAD system way back myself. I could define a rectangular 3D space which would show only the areas and items in the space selected. So I could neatly section say one foot below the First Floor Ceiling up to include say 12" above a laboratory bench and show all the structural, electrcal, mechanical and plumbing relationships. (Unfortunaltely it ran on an Apple II and not a "mainframe" so I couldn't get venture capital to listen and became an also ran.)

If the folks programming VW can add this live link to 3D section cuts we might even retire the 2D section tool. Or keep it as a nice handy legacy tool.

I certainly would make the "BIM" features of VW take on a more useful function.

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I have no real idea of what our slow processing time is about. I have not run across what you describe,

Windows is not my technical cup of tea, although I run a Windows machine - particularly for programs which will never be made to run on a Mac and those few of my VectorWorks using assistants and training clients who are Macintosh adverse.

Have you tried to "clean up" and "optimize" your hard disk? How about running the Norton or other windows system tune up tools? Perhaps reinstalling Vectorworks will clean it it up?

If it is not system related maybe you have linked far too many objects to be converted. E.g. I create multiple 3D MOD layers for files and do not link exterior walls, roofs and features only and not the interior components. That way hidden line removal only has to deal with the information actually becoming part of the picture. Similarly, linking selected interior information to a 3D Mod view for sectioning to achieve interior elevations allows VW inernal processing to just render what is really improtant to the view desired.

Use of multiple Layers and/or Classes to separate information groups simulates the "maquee" selection described for ArchiCAD.

However it does require setting up more "sheets" than maybe you want to control.

I hope this helps.

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bcyldeb, thanks for your suggestions. Your description of how a 3D space can be defined to create a sectional view is exactly on the mark.

Regarding the slowdown phenomenon, this is not a hardware issue. Note that by quitting and restarting the program, performance is restored to normal -> must be a bug of some kind.

[ 08-07-2003, 01:24 AM: Message edited by: P Retondo ]

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee


Originally posted by P Retondo:

Also of note: I'm still getting multiple overlapping lines when generating a hidden line rendering from a 3D section.

If you have a relatively simple file that demonstrates this problem, send it to bugsubmit@nemetschek.net. The hidden line code is supposed to eliminate duplicate lines, so any failure to do so is a bug (or possibly too tight a tolerance for what it considers overlapping).

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  • 4 months later...

I have the same slow-down problems. Its V10-related, I think. V9x didn't seem to care so much about the drawing's complexity.

The hidden-line problem (billions of redundant lines) may be related. Maybe VW should rename it, "Hidden" line, meaning almost hidden. You couldn't send a simple, non-complex drawing to demonstrate the slow-down issue.

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  • 2 weeks later...

MY issue with cutting sections in Vectorworks using a tool similar to the marquee tool in Archicad is that it be dynamic . That is, I update the plan, the section automatically updates. Using multiple mod-3d layers if I'm reading this correctly, would not solve the issue. I would still have to recut the section. Also additional layers becomes quite cumbersome in a file with many layers (for example a three story house).

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jnr, what VW currently does when cutting a 3d section is to create a copy of the model in 3d polys, and deletes all polys or portions of polys on one side of your defined cutting plane - placing all of this duplication on a newly-created layer. This system does not allow the section to be updated unless you go through the whole process again, plus it requires a huge chunk of extra memory.

What we are proposing is that the ideal system would do something like this instead: create a special layer link such that all objects or portions of objects to one side of a cutting plane are invisible. This sectional view would inherently update whenever the model is changed, the same way a layer link updates.

A few things might have to be added to VW capabilities, such as allowing links to links. But Archicad proves that this concept can work.

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